Gloria S. Ross

Gloria S. Ross is the head of Okara Communications and AfterWords, an obituary-writing and design service.

Steve DeBellis
Provided by the family

Steve DeBellis, the deliberately eccentric publisher of a tabloid that reported decades-old stories as if they happened yesterday, under headlines that defied passersby to ignore them, died Saturday.

Typical of Mr. DeBellis’ wit and dramatic flair was a World War II story about a surprise attack on skinny-dipping Germans headlined “Greeks Battle Nude Nazis.” The story appeared in the first edition in 1986 of The St. Louis Enquirer, renamed The St. Louis Globe-Democrat after the daily’s demise.

Deer Creek Watershed Alliance

Cindy Gilberg’s natural habitat was a garden. Preferably, one filled with native perennials.

Growing up in St. Louis, she spent much of her time exploring Shaw Nature Reserve. The love of the place, she wrote, brought her back as an adult and horticulturist “to work and share with others the possibilities of native landscaping and the joy of natural areas.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture, Ms. Gilberg fine-tuned her skills as the co-owner with her husband, Doug, of a Wildwood nursery for nearly three decades.

Morton Bearman
Provided by the Family

Morton R. Bearman, who helped elect two generations of Symingtons to Congress and who became one of the St. Louis area’s first environmental attorneys, died Friday. He was 92.

Mr. Bearman was a staunch Democrat who was active in politics throughout his life. He served as campaign chair for both the late Stuart Symington, the former four-term U.S. senator from Missouri, and Symington’s son, James, who was elected four times to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Louis Brodsky
Provided by the family

Louis Daniel Brodsky, a stunningly prolific writer who composed nearly 12,000 poems, including more than 350 on the Holocaust, has died.

When Mr. Brodsky decided to become serious about his poetry, he committed himself to writing a poem every day of his life.

“He worked at being a poet,” said Eugene Redmond, professor emeritus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and poet laureate of East St. Louis. “Lou went to work like a physician, like a person who worked in a coal mine, like a janitor, like a math teacher. It was amazing.”

Lou 'Fatha' Thimes Sr.
St. Louis Media Archive

In the dog-eat-dog world of music radio, Lou “Fatha” Thimes Sr. was top dog for a very long time.

“In broadcasting you’ve got to be able to contend with all types of personalities, your boss, the program director …” said the veteran disc jockey, leaving the sentence dangling in the 1999 book of biographies, Lift Every Voice and Sing. But, he added: “Broadcasting is a beautiful field. I’ve loved every moment of it.”

Sheila Lumpe
Family Photo

Former Missouri State Rep. Sheila Lumpe, who reluctantly entered statewide politics and became the first woman to lead the powerful House Budget Committee and came within a whisper of being the first speaker of the House, died on Wednesday.

When her husband began cajoling her to run for the office, she balked, siding with detractors who thought her “too soft” and subject to being “eaten alive” by big-time politics.

Linda Dubinsky Skrainka
from her website

Linda Skrainka, whose brush strokes reflect everyday life and transform the banalities into large, exquisite tributes to architectural stasis, nature and ordinary moments in time, died yesterday morning.

Her oil paintings are imbued with minute details that human eyes often fail to register, making them a treasure of rediscovery. They are also, often, literal reflections as Mrs. Skrainka painted shadows and mirrored surfaces to create pictures within pictures.

Eric Nuetzel
Courtesy, St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute

Eric Nuetzel, M.D., didn’t merely enjoy good stage and screen performances, he dissected them. He plumbed the depths of such Shakespearean classics as Othello and Macbeth, as well as timeless movies like It’s A Wonderful Life and Raging Bull, to find their meaning and relevance to the human condition.

Dr. Nuetzel, who eagerly shared his astute analyses with audiences and students, taught simultaneously in the Department of Psychiatry and the Performing Arts Department at Washington University.

State Archives

When Joseph Teasdale ran for governor in the mid-70s, he walked a thousand miles en route to winning the tightest gubernatorial race in the nation, handing a popular incumbent governor a stunning defeat. His margin of victory over Missouri Republican Gov. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, by whom he had been defeated in the previous election, was a mere 12,000 votes out of more than 1.9 million cast. Even members of the Teasdale campaign cabinet were stunned.

/ Photo provided by Kalish family

By day, Ralph Kalish was a well-respected, successful patent attorney. By night, he was, well, he was anything — anyone — he wanted to be: restaurateur, playwright, actor.

In 2011, he became Branch Rickey, the former, longtime St. Louis Cardinals Baseball manager who changed the game forever by bringing Jackie Robinson into the formerly all-white major leagues.

/ Photo provided by Streiff family

Ralph V. Streiff, who was onboard at homegrown Nooter Corp. as the former boiler works company moved into building custom apparatus that helped stamp out polio and put men on the moon, died Sunday. He was 86.

Fresh out of Washington University School of Engineering in 1951, Mr. Streiff joined Nooter as a sales engineer. Forty years later, he retired as president and chairman of the company, which had become one of the largest metal fabricators in the world during his tenure.

campaign photo

During the late 1950s, Rory Ellinger, a high school student at Bishop Du Bourg, had a job as a checker at Kroger’s. During a lunch break, he became transfixed by people picketing the nearby Woolworth’s over dining practices.

“Blacks could only order food to go out,” he recalled in the 1999 book, A Generation Divided. “If you were black, you came in and they served you in a bag and you had to leave.”

He joined the NAACP picket line. It was the prelude to a life defined by the civil rights movement.

Murray Weidenbaum
Washington University

Murray Weidenbaum, an influential scholar widely known as the key architect of President Ronald Reagan’s economic theory dubbed “Reaganomics,” has died.

In 1980, Reagan campaigned on a fix for an economy plagued by rising inflation, unemployment and a growing deficit. He appointed Mr. Weidenbaum as his economic adviser.

Rodney Michael Coe
Provided by Saint Louis University

Rodney Coe, a sociologist who led Saint Louis University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine for a decade, wanted medical students to be more than healers with a great bedside manner. He wanted them to know and understand the communities they would be serving. A medical school program that bears his name made his hope a reality.

“He was very proud of that,” said his wife, Elaine Coe.

Facebook | used with family permission

The first weathercaster for KSD Channel 5, the first television station in St. Louis, quickly abandoned the job in favor of sales. Howard DeMere replaced him. It was 1949, and Mr. DeMere stayed on for most of the next 30 years, becoming one of the most familiar and celebrated personalities in St. Louis television history.

Mr. DeMere marveled at television, a medium that did not exist when he was born.

“(TV) turned civilization upside down,” Mr. DeMere wrote in a recent blog post, “a new art form, new language, different commerce and a much laxer moral code.”

Norman S. London
Provided by the family

Norm London, as he was wont to introduce himself, was a criminal attorney who represented the powerful and the powerless with equal vigor. For 40 years, he defended some of the area’s most famous and infamous citizens before taking his formidable reputation to the federal Public Defender’s Office in St. Louis.

“The legal representation in our office is on par with anything you could go out and buy,” said Lee T. Lawless, who succeeded Mr. London as federal defender. “His name being associated with this office got that message across.”

Undated Family Photo

In 1983, James DeClue beat James DeClue for the position of president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. James F. DeClue, a Baptist minister and corporate executive, led the city NAACP for much of the 1980s, despite a serious challenge from his cousin, the late Dr. James A. DeClue. The Rev. DeClue died last week at the age of 86.

Dr. Frank O. Richards
Wiley Price

Dr. Frank Richards, who built a reputation as one of the most proficient surgeons ever to don a mask because of his ability to operate with one hand while holding instruments in the other, died Thursday.

“No one could do that but Frank,” said Will Ross, M.D., associate dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. “When he was assistant director of Homer G. Phillips Hospital, he really had to move patients in and out; it was a high-volume operation.”

Ed Harper, USMC Colonel Ret.
Family Photo

Col. Edwin A. Harper (USMC, Retired), the next to last survivor of the fabled World War II “Black Sheep Squadron” and later the commander of a squadron of fighter pilots poised to strike during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, has died at his home in Lake Saint Louis. He was 93.

Col. Harper’s life was the stuff of which movies are made, or at least TV shows. The Black Sheep Squadron was immortalized by the highly fictionalized 1970s television series, Baa Baa Black Sheep. Col. Harper was not bothered that the raucous series strayed so far from the facts.

Family photo

People who attend the Tivoli Theatre, the majestic edifice that has graced the University City Loop since 1924, expect certain things. They expect nostalgic surroundings. They expect to see movies with purpose. They expect to be greeted by John Thompson.

For the past 35 years, Mr. Thompson did not disappoint. He died Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. He was 74.

“It will be very sad the first time we walk through the doors (of the Tivoli) and John’s not there,” said Cliff Froehlich, executive director of Cinema St. Louis. “His absence will be very seriously felt.”

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